Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gulf Coast Race Report - Jam Out...

One down, two to go...Gulf Coast is over. On to Muncie Endurathon and then Ironman. There's so much that happened this weekend it's hard to know where to begin, at the beginning, I suppose...

Thursday - 5:00 am departure from Franklin en route to FLA - Jere, Andy and I were filled with excitement and hopes of what GCT had for us this year. We forged on, determined our pre-race plans, race plans and post race plans, the most important part. We were able to get into the water late that afternoon. I had to learn how to swim under the waves and ride them to the top in order to site properly. It was fun to play in but race in?

Friday - Swim/Bike/Run mini brick just to make sure the body knows how to go through those motions. Success, we still know how to ride a bike and how to run. Swimming in the white caps? Andy had the genius idea of going to a movie to keep us away from the heat and beach. May I recommend to you Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay? OMG, I laughed so hard my flip-flop flew off into the rows in front of us. Being the 'girl,' I had to take the ceremonious seat between the two boys. We don't want them to think we're queer...not that there's anything wrong with that. Thankfully, we were three of the five in the theater. I haven't laughed that hard in ages but be prepared for a lot of 14 year old boy humor...I just died.

Saturday - Race day, just what we've been waiting for! Gear is all laid out in T1 in just the order I'm going to need it, or so I thought, and we head to the beach.

The white caps were, well, white caps. I knew I could make it but how long will it take me? Lesson #1 always travel with two pair of goggles - one tinted and one not - mine were so dark that I couldn't see the markers (very overcast at the start). I had to go with the flow and hope I was on track. I didn't think about sea creatures or wild life, I just kept swimming and wondering why I had so much space around me. Well, I had so much space because I was the only jackass off course. I was thinking this is great, I'm not hitting anyone, they're not hitting me, I'm just swimming. There was a reason for that...I was hoping for ~36 minute or so swim. When I exited the water at 42 minutes, I was pissed. I was so pissed that I sat down on a bench to take off my wet suit and rinse off the salt water in the shower they had there. It was like swimming in a washing machine, I swear.

Got to my bike and realized that I didn't put my computer back on, dug through my bag, got it on, got socks onto wet feet and a helmet and rolled.

The glorious bike, how I love my bike and how I love NOT to be swimming any longer. This is great, I'm going ~23 mph and it's not very difficult UNTIL we turned. Yes, the tailwind quickly turned into a headwind but that's OK, just keep pedaling. I had my first feedzone handoffs with no incident. I thought I would never say this but I was never so happy to see a hill in my life. The course is flat as a pancake save one hill that you hit twice. It was so nice to coast for a brief moment. At about mile 40ish, I broke my cooter bone. Everything down there started to hurt and I just wanted off the bike.

Racked the bike, helmet flew off, number belt on, visor on, thought about putting on dry socks but skipped it, thought about putting on more sunscreen but skipped it...it's overcast for crying out loud.

With everything I had left, I worked on quick leg turn over. I realized that my goal of 5:45 was truly within reach. I just knew it when I hit mile marker one and it was an 8:45 mile and even when I hit mile two and it was just under 9. Then, IT happened, the sun came out. OK, I can handle this. I did it last year. I'm fairly certain I heard my skin sizzling in the sun. It was like I put PAM or butter on it or something. It was bad. With each passing mile, my pace slowed as did my ability to process any kind of fluid. I drank gatorade, water, coke and ate GU. That stupid park at mile six should have a sign on it that says welcome to the gates of hell - it's just awful. By mile 9 I could feel myself closing in but my gut was just, full. So, I ate ice chips instead, to keep me going. It was something to look forward to with each passing mile. By 11 I was delirious, I could only look at people and nod a little, I saw my friend's husband and grunted at him. OMG, mile 12 marker, I'm so there. I can't make 5:45 but I CAN go sub-6 hours which was my objective. I can see the finish line but I can't make my feet move any faster. I trot over the finish line (5:56), get my medal, sit down to get my chip removed and just look at the volunteers, I can't move. All I can muster is thanks and get me to medical. The sweet young boy holds up my sorry ass and gets me to the tent. After getting my temp down with ice and cold towels, I decide to stand up to go get beer, or maybe not...an IV may just be a better idea. I'm dizzy. One bag later, not quite a million bucks but improved, now to the beer tent.

Post Race
Mmmm, delicious beer. I get two beers, a coke and sit down with my friends. Shortly after my arrival, some of my speedier friends arrive and ask me thee question of the day WHEN IS THE BABY DUE? I looked down at my gut and I looked four months pregnant. I was so distended. It was then I realized, I have not processed one single thing I have eaten or drank for the day. I have not peed since 6:00 am, drank a ton, ate a fair amount and it was 2:00pm...I didn't even feel like I had to go. Certainly, beer is a good idea at this point. Screw it, I'm drinking, I deserve it. In a half drunken, half delirious state, I collect my gear out of transition, stumble back to my room. After forcing my stinky ass to take a shower, I laid down - for about 20 minutes. I had to pee. Yeah, I had to pee. I've never been so excited to pee. If I couldn't pee, I wasn't going to fit into my outfit for the nites festivities. Ah, to pee, I laid back down to nap, 15 minutes later, I had to pee again, no problem, pee, laid back down to nap, 10 minutes later, well, you get the idea. The flood gates were open and my body was purging, so much for a nap.

Huge thanks to all my friends and family for their support. I had to dig deep and think about all their well wishes during that damn run. I needed all the help I could get! So much more to come on this blog about this race, so much happened, I just can't get it all down in one day.

Pat Kane
It wasn't until the race was over that we learned a man had died during the swim. At the time, he didn't have a name or a face. We didn't know how old he was or how it actually happened. All we knew was that someone died. We talked about what a shame it was and how we hated it for the family. Then a friend sent me a link today to a pre-race picture of Pat Kane with his two sons. Another friend from ATL called me today to say that his son plays soccer with Pat's son. I was kind of numb at work looking at his picture that was taken Saturday morning, in his wetsuit, with his two sons. I was there with him, he was one of 'us.' He was us, I still don't know him but I'm sure he worked, played and took care of his family just like 'us.' He trained when he could get it in and probably play soccer with his boys too. I look at those two little boys and cry for them. I know the 'grown ups' will be fine, eventually, but a little boy with no dad??? It's not fair and it will never be fair. I'm not one of those freakin' stupid people that say, "everything happens for a reason." Only people that have never lost someone say stupid shit like that. The only consolation is that time heals. It's the only thing that really works, the passing of time. You never forget and a day won't go by that you won't think of them but time just deadens the rawness of it all. Apparently, Pat's family donated 47 tissues and organs. May his family find solice in the fact that other families will be able to hang on to their dad's a little longer because of their dad's most dearest gift. May Pat Kane rest in peace and may his family find a little.


Jill said...

Missy! Congrats on the 1/2 IM. I sure missed the Dance, Dance. But, I have a room reserved and I'll be there for the big IM FL.

I found your blog through Lana...funny stuff. Keep on training hard...and we'll have some BIG fun in a few months.


PS I now have a blog too...

Abby said...

You rock, Ironwoman!!!! 7.5 weeks till another one :)

Holly Jane said...

Great race, Missy!!! Way to stick it out in the heat! It was great meeting you in the beer tent!

Lana said...

Congrats, Missy!! It was so fun to hang out with you guys in the beer tent!

That was a nice tribute to Pat Kane. And I agree with you on that "everything happens for a reason" bullshit.

Lana said...

Congrats, Missy!! It was so fun to hang out with you guys in the beer tent!

That was a nice tribute to Pat Kane. And I agree with you on that "everything happens for a reason" bullshit.

Kristin said...

Missy - my name is Amanda and my sister Kristin is Pat Kane's wife. She just read your posting to me and I am posting on her behalf. I just want you to know that she was very touched by what you wrote. Needless to say, the tears were flowing as she read your tribute. She and the boys are coping incredibly well and the support of their friends and neighbors has been overwhelming. It just demonstrates how loved Pat was. People who didn't even know the family have been very generous in their donations to the college fund set up for the boys. A lot of the donations came from people who participated in the race, who like you, were affected by Pat's death. Thank you again for your words and know that your sentiments were appreciated by Pat's family.

IronMissy - it's official!

IronMissy - it's official!
A vision in green!